11/02/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas. David Cameron


cancels his trip to the Middle East to deal with the worst English


flooding in decades. It's been the most exceptional period of rain in


the UK for more than 200 years - with at least 1,000 homes evacuated


and in some areas tempers are rising as fast as the floodwaters. It is


about time someone does something and come out and don't leave us


stranded. Men and boys have been detained by the Syrian authorities


during the evacuation of Homs. The Governor there says some could face


arrest and trial. We'll get the latest from inside that besieged


city. Also coming up: He may be having a difficult time at home, but


it's a warm welcome at the White House for France's President


Hollande. Saying goodbye to Hollywood sweetheart Shirley Temple


who sang and danced her way into the hearts of Depression-era America and


died today at the age of 85. Hello and welcome. 1,600 troops are


on standby as severe flood alerts affect towns and villages along the


River Thames - after what the Prime Minister David Cameron described


today as the wettest English winter for 250 years. Roads and rail tracks


are under water, more than 1,000 homes have been evacuated and Mr


Cameron has cancelled his planned visit to the Middle East to focus on


what has become a political and logistical emergency. Let's give you


an idea of the impact of the flooding now with our correspondent.


He is in Berkshire. I'm in the Thames Valley and communities from


here where I am in Marlow down stream towards London are feeling


the full impact of the floods. It has been raining so much the ground


is so water-logged the river levels have been rising so fast that many


homes have been flooded and more are at risk. In this town, some


residents are saying they haven't seen it as bad as this for 40 years.


We have seen pumps being set up and the army coming in, people


sandbagging their homes and businesses. But many people say that


all of this is rather too late. But more resources are being brought in.


Jon Kay reports. High visibility - a Prime Minister keen to be seen.


Visiting Devon's fractured railway line, insisting he will get


storm-batter Britain back on track. If money needs to be spent, it will


be spent. If resources are required, we will provide them. If the


military can help they will be there. We must do everything, but it


is going to take time to get things right. Next stop - Taunton. The


Prime Minister had cancelled today's cabinet meeting to be here instead.


In this control room the response to the Somerset Levels flooding has


been co-ordinated and after all the criticism and blame, a chance to


show a united front. A bit of welcome sunshine in Somerset today.


But many here told us they wanted Mr Cameron to spend some of Britain's


foreign aid budget helping flood victims at home. Some of the


millions that is being sent to help people abroad, OK people abroad need


help. We do here. This part of the country is in chaos. The school


where Nicky teaches was closed by flooding today and she told she she


wants to see more led leadership from the Prime Minister. I think


he's panicking, because he doesn't quite know what to do. And it is an


unusual situation and I do realise we are experiencing unusual weather,


however there are still people cut off and people without provision. If


David Cameron thought the South West was wet, wait until he reached the


Thames Valley. In Staines he surprised people living on flooded


Guilford Street. Mr Cameron has been in there holding a private meeting


with residents about the state of their overflowing drains. Not the


kind of think you would expect a Prime Minister to be dealing with


himself. Burr he knows that his leadership will be judged by the way


he deals with this whole wider crisis. And those who met him today


agree. If action's not taken then all we can do is vote. Really it


will make a difference to the way you vote? Yeah, I will vote for


whoever fixes this problem. From Guilford Street, back to Downing


Street and this message tonight. There is absolutely no sign of this


threat abating. And with further rain and strong winds forecast


throughout the week, things may well get worse before they get better.


The Prime Minister announced he was cancelling his trip to the Middle


East next week. Instead he will deal with the crisis in middle England.


We could be talking about a lot of resources in the short and


long-term. Where is it going to come from? Well, these two separate


issues - the short and long-term. The Prime Minister said money was no


object in terms of dealing with what needs to be done now. There will be


questions about which budget that comes from. And then there is the


issue about what should be done to make sure this doesn't happen again,


or at least happen on this scale. That is not an issue just for here


in the Thames Valley, but also in the South West, where there has been


flooding for weeks now. Calms for more dredge - calls for more


dredging and flood defences there. That is more costly and involves a


lot more long-term commitment. Thank you. Let's talk to BBC Weather


presenter Nina Ridge. One reason we are leading with this story, it is


not just a weather event in Britain. This is sustained rain faufl having


a -- rain fall having a damaging effect. Are we looking at climate


change? As yet we have no tive answer. But there are some


fundamental laws of physics that we can't get away from. As the world


warms, which it has been doing, it will hold more water and many


studies will indicate that we should inspect -- expect more intense ra


fall as a result. There are studies which have forecasted that Atlantic


storms would get more intense and have a more southerly track. That


would fit with the pattern we have had this winter. You have been


looking at patterns of weather around the world. How do they lock


together? The different stories we have had through different


continents. Yes, it is global weather. The weather we have been


here we can link back to things in the Pacific. It has been unusually


warm in the Pacific, which has brought enhanced rain fall across


Indonesia. And then the jet stream has given cold air across Canada,


central United States and Texas. In turn the jet stream across the North


Atlantic has been intensified and set across parts of southern UK.


That is why we have so many storms. And why you tell us to expect for


this winter in the northern hemisphere more unsettled weather?


Yes there is more unsettled weather. For the UK next week perhaps drier.


But over all the jet stream looks stuck in place for a while yet. So


there is a difficulty for politicians and planners in trying


to work out what to do. The ground is soed soen, you -- wet you can't


pump it away. We are expecting around a month's worth of rain still


to fall by the end of Friday. It is a huge amount of water that has


nowhere to go. Thank you. United Nations aid agencies say they're


concerned about what's happening to the men and boys among the hundreds


of civilians evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs - a city where


people have been living in desperate circumstances under siege for the


last 18 months. Large numbers of the men trying to leave during a locally


agreed ceasefire have been detained for what the Syrian authorities call


screening. Let's try to go to Homs now and speak with the UN's


Humanitarian Coordinator Yacoub el Hillo. Thank you for speaking to us.


Is it your understanding that the evacuation process is still under


way? Thank you very much. It has been under way for the last three or


four days and we have over a thousand people have come out of the


old city of Homs. Into the larger city. This is a part of a deal that


was agreed by and Government of Syria and the opposition groups


inside the old city, which also provide this agreement for the


delivery of humanitarian assistance inside the old city of Homs.


Something that we have been able to partially achieve two days ago. So


yes, people have been able to come out. And some partial achievement


has been realised in delivering aid to the old city after what some


calculated as 600 days. Are you concerned about what's happening to


these men and teenage boys, they seem to be being separated from


their families as they leave Homs? When they arrive, or when a they


leave do you mean? Well I will take your information from the ground,


but what we have been hearing is it as they leave the city, the men and


boys are being taken aside and detained, questioned. Well, we have


been actually running this exercise, this humanitarian exercise since the


world go. And by we, I mean the UN agencies, as well as our partners,


the Syrian Red Cross and Syrian remember crescent. At no moment have


we actually men or... Are separated from their families. There is a


facility prepared to receive families leaving the old city. But


since all of the families that have come out so far opted to go


elsewhere. In and around Homs city. The shelter, or the transit facility


was available to receive these men, who are they? They are men under the


age of 55, but maems whose age is 16 years and above. -- males. We were


actually quite impressed that quite a number of males in this category


chose to come out and that was the day bhfr yesterday -- before


yesterday and even more yesterday. So the agreement with the Syrian


Government was the arrival of these individuals came outside the pe


rammer thes of the humanitarian - parameters of the humanitarian


arrangement. But they will transferred with their families to


this transit facility. That is where they are now. Many left today after


having gone through the process of regularising their statements and


checking if there was anything outstanding in their name while they


were not able to be here out of the old city. 111 have left that


facility, many with their families. So they were not separated. It is


good to get the late fres you -- latest from you. Thank you. The US


President Barack Obama today described the situation in Syria as


fluid, saying Washington does not see a military solution to the


situation there. He was speaking during his joint news conference


with the French president Francois Hollande - after the two leaders


held policy talks in the Oval Office. This visit marks a new era


in US-French relations, which sank to a low a decade ago over the Iraq


war. But Mr Obama was careful to be diplomatic when asked which European


ally matters most to Washington. I have two daughters! And they're both


gorgeous and wonderful. And I would never choose between them. And that


is how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are


wonderful in their own ways. Now, to the serious part of the question,


what I do believe is that the US/French alliance has never been


stronger. And the levels of co-operation that we are seeing


across a whole range of issues is much deeper than it was I think five


years ago, ten years ago, 20 years ago. With me is Eric Albert, a


London-based French Journalist working for Radio France and Le


Monde. Now a look at some of the days other news. Which matters


really matter to President Obama? The one thing for sure there is no


big disagreement like there was on Iraq ten years ago. There is no big


frontal kis a-- disagreement and there has been quite a few


agreements on what France does in Africa in Mali and the central


republic of Africa. France went there and the US, Barack Obama is


happy to let France do it with some support, but not too much. Barack


Obama ips not like -- is not like George Bush, somebody who wants to


intervene. And the European influence in Africa so, he can step


back. Yes. And the relationship is warmer, friendlier than before. It


is better than the cheese surrender monkeys of the George Bush era. But


there was no big treaty, no big trade agreement. Relationships are


fine. It doesn't mean we are at a turning point or anything concrete


has changed. Do you think there is any anguish in France? In Britain


there is a worry about what happened to the special relationship with


America looking to China for example. Do the French care as much?


There was this fighting between France and the US. Britain almost


wanted to beat the special friend. Barack Obama, he said he has two


daughters and will not choose between them. The real shift is,


Barack Obama is shifting towards the West, shifting towards retreating in


places like Africa and Syria. President Hollande wanted to strike


in Syria, Oregon Obama was the one who stopped it. France has a


slightly friendlier relationship with America. Also, to be treated


with dignity over the runaround by the international media over his


private life? His private life has probably been more played on


international media than in France. The page has turned. He dumped his


girlfriend, it is over. He is a single man. He has no first lady


being paid by the state. So things have gone back to a normal state of


affairs now. So he can talk about the important things like Syria and


Iran and climate change? That is one thing they are both trying to move


forward. There will be a big climate change summit next year in France.


With the US summit on board, aims might change. We will have to leave


it there, but thank you. A moment of history for Beijing and


Taipei today. Two capitals embarking on their highest level meeting since


the end of China's civil war in 1949. Since the 50s Taiwan has


called itself the Republic of China. Beijing has always insisted it has


territorial rights over the island and has refused to rule out military


force to take it over. But Taiwan's Minister of Mainland Affairs is in


Nanjing on the Chinese mainland for talks with his opposite number.


Could it be the key step towards normalised relations? Emily Buchanan


reports. Carefully choreographed, the first


handshake between two historic rivals. It is a big step between


China and Taiwan, set symbolically in Nanjing, China's B for the


Communists took over. The tables were laid out in perfect symmetry


with no provocative flags. TRANSLATION: we need to apply a bit


of creativity if we want to achieve a breakthrough in the relationship.


We need to make efforts to make meetings like this happen. Taiwan's


delegate was equally conciliar tree. TRANSLATION: we are able to sit down


for a meeting to discuss issues concerning both sides and we should


cherish this peaceful and stable momentum. I hope we can further


promote the relationship on the basis of the consensus reached


previously. Civil war and revolutions split the


Chinese people. Chinese and Taiwan have had separate government since


1949. The defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan. China still considers


Taiwan part of its territory, but Taiwan has never formally given up


its claim to be the rightful government of China. But in 1971


Taiwan lost its seat to China. In 1979 it received a further blow when


the US officially recognised the people's Republic of China in


Beijing. Recently, relations have been boring since 2008. Two years


later, the president oversaw a trade pact with China, but many Taiwanese


worried it was the first step in being taken over by Beijing. In


spite of the diplomatic niceties, there are still lingering doubts


about Taiwan's future sovereign tree.


More than 100 people are feared dead in Algeria after a military


transport plane crashed. One survivor was found. Bad weather was


suggested as a possible cause. It went down in a mountainous area in


the East of Algeria. The organisers of the World Cup in


cat have published a charter of workers right after fever urged the


state to revise its working practices. It is alleged 155


Nepalese workers died there last year in work-related incidents.


India has lifted its ban on the Russian Olympics. Fresh elections


were conducted on Sunday which was seen as fair and the lifting of the


ban means Indian athletes in Sochi who had been competing under the IOC


flag can now compete under their national flag instead.


It is the fourth day of the Winter Olympics in the Russian Black Sea


resort of Sochi. Snowboarding legend Shaun White pulled out of the


Slopestyle event earlier in The Games to focus on the men's half


pipe. Tulsen Tollett is in the BBC Sports Centre. How did he get on?


Not great. He was looking for his third consecutive gold medal. Shaun


White won the last two Olympic Games, bidding for his third gold


medal. His first run, unfortunately he fell. He could not get the


victory. His second run was not good enough. He finished in fourth. The


man who won is from Switzerland and who is factually known as iPod. He


has been a big rival of Shaun White over the past few years. The


15-year-old Japanese in there as well, who came in third place. The


move which one it the iPod was called a yo-yo. I will not explain


to you how it was because it was very difficult. The big event on


Tuesday was the women's downhill ski jumping. The first time since the


1924 Winter Olympic games this has been introduced. The Japanese,


17-year-old was the favourite. The world number one. But she could only


manage fourth. The winner was from Germany who was the last to go with


a combined score of 247.4, which gained her the victory. There were


eight gold medals on offer on Tuesday. Six others to speak of. If


you want the information on those, go to our website.


The actress Shirley Temple has died at the age of 85 after a career


which you could say peaked at the age of five. The former Hollywood


child star helped to raise American morale during the Great Depression


of the early 1930s and later became a US diplomat to Africa and Europe.


David Sillito looks back at her life.


With her ringlets, dimples and talent, Shirley Temple was a child


star without equal. Indeed she was Hollywood's biggest star in the late


30s. Her innocent charm one box office magic. But her mother,


Gertrude, had started her out in the less than wholesome baby burlesque.


She was only four years old at the time. It wasn't long before she got


the chance to show off her real talent for song and dance.


Her popularity saved the FOX studios from bankruptcy and her optimistic


films where an escape from the hard times of the 30s. Surely got her


first car. It it is a shame she cannot run it anywhere else but in


the studio grounds. She drives like a grown-up woman. She appeared to


have everything and even had her own baby Oscar. What she did not have a


friend is her own age. Mummy, can we go now? When she missed out on The


Wizard of Oz to Judy Garland, it was the beginning of the end of her


career and her well. She was just 12. Out of the $3,200,000 that I had


earned from everything, all sales and books and things, I had $44,000


left in a trust account. I wasn't upset, I was shocked. After her


first marriage failed and her career stalled, she remarried and


re-emerged into public life. I am dedicating my life and my energies


to public service because I think our country needs it now more than


it ever has before. And I want to help. Shirley Temple Black. Shirley


Temple Black moved into politics and became an ambassador to Ghana and


checkers are back here, as well as the White House Chief of Protocol.


It was a startling reinvention, but whatever she did, most people will


always remember her as America's little princess.


Oh M Douglas! We will end the programme of a royal


visit to our own newsroom. Prince Charles and Camilla were given a


tour of the BBC and they met editors and producers working on our


television and radio programmes. And also the World Service programme


which will launch on Monday. They are doing rehearsals for that at the


moment. This is World News Today. From me


and the rest of the team, thanks for being with us.


Whilst we are continuing to be concerned about the amount of


rainfall, there is also likely to be sleet and snow through the night and


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